Will online courses help women get confident about coding and tech careers?

The coding bootcamp reveals four main concerns women have around coding

There’s a growing demand for skilled workers in the technology industry, yet women hold a minority of roles (25%). While research points to rising interest among women in tech jobs, misconceptions about accessibility and ability hold them back, according to new data from a coding skills company.

Skilled tech roles are predominately male-held, but this isn’t stopping women from developing an interest in a tech career. Google Trends data shows a large rise in searches for ‘women in tech’.

So, with a tech industry crying out for more skilled workers and a rise in women seeming interested in roles, why aren’t more women entering it? Upskilling is key to securing a skilled tech role, and coding is one avenue that women can consider. However, Code Institute, which helps people switch careers into software development via coding skills, has revealed some misconceptions women have about coding.

From their recent study, Code Institute applicants listed what they think are the four main barriers to women learning how to code:

  1. Negative perception: Coding is perceived as not something women are good at
  2. Self-exclusion: The belief that you need to be good at maths to code
  3. Time commitment: The concern that a course will not fit into their busy life
  4. Lack of confidence: Especially around age

While concerns about accessibility, including time commitments, especially among women with caregiving responsibilities, are concerns when taking courses, online courses are likely a better fit as they offer flexibility for women to learn as they like. This makes them a good route for parents and those working in other sectors that want to switch careers and take courses outside of working hours.

Code Institute offers some brief testimonies from women who took their online coding course below, who reveal its accessibility, flexibility, and how it’s transformed their careers and lives.

Code Institute graduate Anna Greaves, 41, was a stay at home mum and ran a small online art business before learning to code. She said: “A couple of years ago, my husband got very, very sick, and it was a real wakeup call for me that I needed to have a stable income to support myself, my kids and my family.

“Because of the remote nature of the online coding course, I was able to work at my own pace and in my own time. I can work when the kids are in school and when they’ve gone to bed, and you can start from anywhere. I could move to the other side of the world and continue what I’m doing.”

Former stay at home mother turned Software Developer Sarah Barron said: “I found the coding course to be very accessible, I could do it at home or in the cafe down the road, so my remote location had no effect.

“It really gave me the opportunity to work in a job that had great work-life balance and still be there for the kids. I could do projects in the morning and the evening when they’d gone to bed, but I can still be there for them, and that’s my main aim in life, to be there for them whilst they’re young.”

Jane Gormely, Director of Career Services at Code Institute, said: “Coding is now more accessible than it ever has been, with high quality and flexible courses meaning that women have so many options when it comes to reskilling and finding a career in technology.”

She also discussed their new scholarship programme that will upskill women as coders whose career prospects have been damaged by conflict: “This year, Code Institute launched a £100,000 Level Up scholarship programme. Scholarships are granted to women from conflict areas suffering from the sudden disruption of opportunities in their home countries. We look forward to supporting these ladies through their career change journey, and we hope that women around the world continue to be inspired to look to coding as a new career path.”

More information about Code Institute’s Full Stack Developer Course can be found here.

In this article, you learned that:

  • Only 25% of skilled tech roles are held by women, according to a global study
  • Code Institute found that the four main misconceptions women have about coding careers include; negative perception, self-exclusion, time commitment and a lack of confidence.
  • Online coding courses could be more flexible/accessible to mothers and older people who want to switch careers and learn in their free time.
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